Then senior Ebony Rowe waves to fans at a Lady Raiders basketball game on Jan. 18, 2014. Photo courtesy of MTSU Athletics
Record-setting former Lady Raider forward Ebony Rowe is no longer in school, but she is still earning awards.
Earlier last week, Conference USA named her Female Athlete of the Year after her performance both on and off the court. It could not have happened to a better player or person.
If you had the chance to follow her this past season, it was a perfect ending to a career that will be talked about for years to come. Of course, this season was one of firsts for the Lady Raider basketball program, including moving from the Sun Belt to C-USA. However, Rowe helped make the transition very easy for one of the best mid-major womenâ€™s basketball programs in the nation.
The Lady Raiders finished up the year with several huge wins over well-known programs around the nation. While in its first season in C-USA, MTSU dominated in winning the regular season title (15-1) and earning another trip to the NCAA tournament by winning the conference postseason tournament.
As for Rowe, she became the Lady Raidersâ€™ all-time leading scorer with 2,453 points and the leading rebounder with 1,410. She also finished her career with 13 other school records. By the end of this season, she was named All-America Honorable Mention, C-USA Player of the Year, C-USA championship MVP, All C-USA first team, C-USA All-Defensive Team and WBCA All-Region honors for the third year in a row.
What made her special and what she will be remembered for is the way she carried herself both on and off the floor. Anytime we needed a few minutes with her to preview and recap the games, she was always available to talk. While she was breaking all of these records during this past season, no matter what she always gave the credit to her teammates.
Her teammates absolutely adored her, and Rowe felt the same way about them. Her and head coach Rick Insell made such a great partnership, and they made each other better.
However, what was most impressive about Rowe was her work in the classroom. As she studied one of the hardest majors on campus, physics, she finished with one of the highest GPAâ€™s of all of the student-athletes at MTSU. Her work in the classroom earned her 2014 Capital One Academic All-American Second Team, and a two-time Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar.
Sometimes it is thrown around in sports too much about somebody having the total package both on the court and in the classroom. However, in this case, Rowe is truly well-rounded in all aspects, and she has deserved all of the praise and success which she has earned during her Lady Raider career.
Of course, Insell is currently looking for the next MTSU superstar since Rowe has moved on. However, Rowe proved during her time in Murfreesboro these past four years that she is irreplaceable.